Two months prior to that surprise announcement, Rinke had said she was tweaking the concept of Hawthorn Grill to make it more casual. She removed the white tablecloths that suggested fine dining and made changes to the menu “for ease of preparation and quickness of service,” the chef-owner said at the time.
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In yesterday’s message to her customers, Rinke wrote:
“For the second time is as many months, I find myself facing a very difficult decision. For the last seven years, I have poured my heart and soul into this business, many times at the expense of my health, mental well-being, and family; and now I believe God is putting me on a different path.
“I feel it is in my best interest (and that of my family) to make a change. … I am announcing the closing of Hawthorn Grill/Sweet Prince Deli.
“I have experienced great joy, sorrow, frustration, excitement and pride while cooking for you these last seven years, but alas, this chapter of my life must now come to a close. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the love and appreciation I have experienced here.”
Reached Saturday afternoon, Rinke said she is looking at career opportunities both in and out of food service.
"I'll be around," she said. "I'm just looking to spend a little time rejuvenating and spending some much-needed time with my family."
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The Hawthorn Grill closing comes within days of tomorrow’s (July 2) scheduled shutdown of Rue Dumaine, following a 10-year run. Both chef-owned restaurants had attempted to become more casual in their menu and approach during their final year.
RELATED: Rue Dumaine chef-owner Anne Kearney offers a glimpse into her future